Police seek public help to find shooter of Amish horse

You may have already heard of the drive-by shooting of an Amish horse that occurred this past Sunday in Lancaster County. More details have emerged as authorities try to find the perpetrator(s). From Lancaster Online:

 The Amish family included three children ages 12, 9 and 7, Weaver said.

They likely were returning home from a church-related gathering around 9 p.m. Sunday as their horse pulled them north in the 100 block of North Ronks Road.

About a mile from home, a car passed them from behind and they heard a “loud crack,” Weaver said.

“They believe it is a firecracker because that is something that happens to (people in buggies), unfortunately,” he said. “People do all kinds of things to the Amish — throw eggs and food at them, and apparently firecrackers.”

“The horse didn’t pull up, but continued going.”

Some people have asked if the family knew the horse was hurt and forced it to finish the trip home.

“That is not the case at all,” he said. “The family didn’t know it had been struck.”

None of the occupants of the buggy was injured, police said.

The unidentified car didn’t stop after the incident.

When the buggy reached the family’s farm, a member of the family took the harness off and discovered blood coming from the horse’s mouth, Weaver said.

A veterinarian was called, but the horse collapsed and died of a gunshot wound near its lungs before the vet arrived.

An examination of the animal revealed a bullet hole in the left chest.

Harrassment of Amish is nothing new, though this was no joke or prank.  East Lampeter Township officer Lt. Robin Weaver commented on the unusual nature of the attack:

Livestock are shot at occasionally, but Weaver couldn’t remember another case during his 30 years as a police officer in which a horse pulling a buggy was shot.

“It was extremely dangerous,” Weaver stressed. “The horse is very close to the carriage, and the area is in a residential area.

“Anything could have happened. The horse could have bolted. A bullet could have ricocheted and struck (the buggy’s occupants). It could have missed and gone into a house.”

“This showed extreme indifference to human life,” Weaver said.

Authorities have asked the public for assistance in finding the shooter.

Those with information can contact township police at 717-291-4676 or Lancaster City/County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-322-1913, or by anonymous text (text LANCS plus a message to 847411).

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    26 Comments

    1. SharonR

      Find shooter of Amish Horse

      OH THIS IS NOT something I wanted to read on Thanksgiving morning!! So sad, and NOT RIGHT!!! That really upsets me that people can be so mean to a living thing……I don’t have the words to describe what I feel on this!! Really hope they catch these mean people and lock them away!! And, now it has costs the Amish family heartbreak as well as their transportation options have been compromised, now having to purchase another horse to replace that one!! That is just not right!! I will say an extra prayer at the dinner table today, for this family and their poor horse! Whoever did this, will pay “in the end”!
      SharonR

      1. Different circumstances (a horse’s life does not equate to a human’s), but to me this has an eerie echo of the accidental shooting in Ohio of an Amish girl 2 years ago. But while that was accidental this appears to be anything but. Hopefully this is solved quickly.

        And I agree, not really what I wanted to post on Thanksgiving either. I do wish all readers a happy Thanksgiving with loved ones and especially safe travels.

    2. Ed from NY

      So sad to read about this crap happening. I hope the perpetrators are caught. Sometimes it seems that rural areas attract real psychopaths.

    3. Juanita Cook

      This is so sad. I hope they catch the people who did this and hope they are made to pay for replacing the horse. Also hope the are locked up for a very long time. Maybe some harsher jail time will get things like this under control.

    4. Nancy

      This greatly saddens me — but I know that the family has likely forgiven whomever is at fault and is praying for them. I’m also struck by the fact that the horse got the family safely home before collapsing.

    5. City Slicker

      Ed from NY - Rural psycopaths?

      I disagree; I don’t think psycopaths are necessarily rural or urban, but rather a plague on all our houses and on society in general. We tend not to be aware of them unless something happens in our own areas or when they do something as out of the ordinary as this Lancaster incident.
      Nor was it a gun that precipitated this crime. It was a “human”, who bears sole responsibility and deserves punishment.

      That said, this incident is disturbing on so many levels.

      1. OldKat

        Well said ...

        an outstanding post.

    6. Linda

      Thanksgiving

      This news is heartbreaking and, as others have said, disturbing. My prayers for all, including the perpetrators, who are in great need of prayer.

      This is an awkward transition, and I hope not inappropriate, but it is the day:

      Abounding Thanksgiving blessings to you, Erik, and to all the Amish America community. May each of you find much laughter and love today, much feasting and family/friends, maybe some football. I’m thankful for “Amish America” and you guys!

    7. Margaret

      It is another version of abuse

      Abuse and neglect of horses is nothing new. But as the police officer well pointed out this could’ve had devastating consequences. Why anyone would shoot an animal for no apparent reason speaks to the total lack of regard to life and property.

      I understand the Amish way to turn the other cheek. I think it’s admirable in todays world but I also think its time to call what is happening to them bullying. They are victims because of their beliefs. I’m not suggesting they go out and beat up other folks but perhaps a well placed phone call or two followed up with pressing charges will slow the violence shown them.

      While I feel bad for the family I feel worse for the horse who took this family home while dying in his own blood. The pain he must have been in tears at me. I hope the jerk that did this is caught and hung out to dry. Perhaps a couple years behind bars in solitary confinement will make him re-evaluate his life and where it’s going.

    8. Tom Geist

      Our Reaction...

      It’s interesting to read others responses here. Like many other English people I have the innate reaction to find and punish the person.
      The adult in me says that I need to try and look at this as a loving God would (not an eye for an eye, but to love those that hurt you) but it’s hard not to go the other way.

      Tom in Lincoln LincNebr@hotmail.com

      1. City Slicker

        This criminal act took place along a section of Ronks Road that is lined on both sides with occupied homes, and therefore there was substantial risk created of bodily harm and/or property damage to the people in those homes when some jerk decided to recklessly dischage a firearm. That no one else was affected doesn’t minimize the severity of the crime.

        The Amish family may be able to forgive the loss of their horse (and God bless them for it), but the larger society must require some level of punishment.

    9. loretta todd

      Comment on police seeking public help

      Incidents such as this happens a lot. Unfortunately it is usually to a person and I think shooting an animal is just as sad.
      I have often wondered what pleasure or thrill a person gets from an act such as this. It speakes of their bravity when they will destroy others, hoping to not get caught, then when they do they are ashamed for the cameras to see their face. Real heros, huh?

      1. OldKat

        I agree ...

        with you loretta todd. It is amazing to me the number of times that some jerk does something like this and then if they get caught, they get all teary eyed & profess their shame and remorse.

        I say bull to that. People that would do a drive by shooting of a person or an animal are simply cowards. The only regret they ever have is of getting caught. I hope this shooter is caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law possible.

    10. GLEN K

      REWARD

      IF YOU WANT TO CATCH THE SUB-HUMANS WHO SHOT THE HORSE AND ENDANGERED THE FAMILY,…..POST A BIG REWARD. SOMEONE WILL BURN THESE IDOITS.
      IF THE COUNTY PUTS UP THE REWARD, MAKE THE REWARD AMOUNT PART OF THE RESTITUTION AT SENTENCING.

    11. Alice Mary

      Margaret expressed my feelings exactly, regarding the poor horse as well as the bullying aspect of “Amish abuse.”

      I can only shake my head and pray for the family…and for the perpetrator, that he/she will “man up” and turn themselves in. If nothing else, they need to replace that family’s horse.

      Alice Mary

    12. Lamar

      Senseless violence. So sad.

    13. Dave

      Prayer for relief

      Random acts of intimidation is a tragidy of mankind. Fools with anger and nothing better to do then take the life of a horse and jeopardize the health and safety of a peaceful unsuspecting family. Amish are raised with the characteristic of perseverance and accept suffering as the martyrs before then.

    14. What a wonderful horse, to trot through that much pain to make sure his family was home and safe. While I believe in forgiveness, I also would like to see the person who would shoot a horse and a horse pulling a buggy caught. This is the type of behavior that will be repeated because the shooter gets a thrill out of it. Next time, it may be a person who dies and not “just” an animal. And it may be an non-Amish horse or pet that is shot. It is not just Amish safety at risk, it is the safety of the entire community, Amish and English, at risk.

      We recently saw a show on History Channel, “Afraid of the Dark,” that described how people “shut-in” for the night – basically buttoned up the house – and followed an Amish family in Ohio as an example of “shutting in” at night for safety. The father said they had to lock the doors and he didn’t want his children out after dark, even between the house and the barn, because some people would harass them, break in or otherwise cause harm to them. My husband turned to me and asked in disbelief, “Does that really happen? Why would someone do that?” I told him yes, and sadly, this poor horse’s death is why.

      1. Sandra Kathleen

        I know this is a late post, but I agree with you. It’s not “just” a horse. Had the horse not continued on its way, the whole family may have been involved in a serious accident. The horse is a hero.

        Those who would harm the most innocent and harmless among us — and the horse falls in this category — is a danger to us all.

    15. Unakon

      prayers for the family

      my prayers to the family. when will people leave the Amish alone. I can,t understand why people harrase someone who only wan,t to live in peace.

    16. Terry Berger

      Well....

      This isn’t the first time something like this happened either. Several years in the Beeville, TX community there was an intentional shooting of an Amish family’s horse. As I remember it, the outside community chipped in to buy a new horse for the family. It greatly saddens me to think that someone would harm a defenseless animal or people for that matter. From my own experience I’ve often felt that some like to try to push plain people to see if they will respond in an unChristian manner. My prayers go to the family and the shooters, they have to live with themselves after doing something so blatently wrong.

      Terry

    17. City Slicker

      ARREST MADE

      Police have annouced that Timothy Antonio Diggs, Jr. of Ronks PA has been arrested in connection with the November 24, 2013 drive by shooting that killed a horse pulling a buggy with an Amish family of five inside.

      Diggs, who has been confined to the Lancaster County Prison since Decmber 3, 2012 on a burglary charge, has been charged with reckless endangerment, animal cruelty, and a weapons offense in connection with the shooting.

      1. Thanks for the update, City. And here’s the article: http://lancasteronline.com/news/pennsylvania/charges-in-amish-buggy-drive-by-that-killed-horse/article_2e860dd5-10a5-5eaa-8cf6-2277ceaa2b50.html

      2. City Slicker

        Correction

        Sorry!
        The “alleged perpetrator” has been confined to the Lancaster County Prison since December 3, 2013 — not 2012.
        My fingers are faster than my mind.

    18. City+Slicker

      Shooter of Amish Horse Sentenced

      Timothy Antonio Diggs, 21, of Ronks, PA was sentenced today for the 11/24/2013 shooting that killed a horse pulling a buggy in which an Amish family was riding, and for other crimes.

      In connection with the horse shooting Diggs pled guilty to one count of animal cruelty, five counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of propulsion of a missile.

      In separate cases, he also pled guilty to four counts of receiving stiolen property, one additional but separate count of reckless endangerment for shooting a rifle close to residences near his home, and one count of altering or destroying a vehicle identification number

      He received a sentence of 1 to 2 years in the Lancaster County prison, which will be followed by a 4 year probation term. He was also ordered to pay $3000 in restitution, undergo alcohol and drug treatment, and to attend anger management.

      The restitution assessment is not for the horse; the owner declined to receive it, noted the prosecutor.

      1. Tom Geist

        I’m sure I speak for many here when I say….Thanks for staying on top of this story City Slicker.